What is your approach?

While I do my best to meticulously plan the details of the shoot, I ultimately believe that photography is unpredictable. For me, when I take an image it's to learn about my subject or my environment. I want the photograph to tell me a story from start to finish - I want details, meaning, emotion, mystery, an adventure. I want the image to be just as beautiful photographically as it is of the person.


When I shoot I take a documentary approach. We'll play, explore, talk, dance. If you're with family members, you'll experience life with them the same as any other day, though maybe a little more closely. My goal is to capture and document life in the act of living, while staying true to photographic values and artistic integrity.

What made you choose photography?

It was the summer after my first year at the Kansas City Art Institute and I was attending a family reunion up in New York. I had gone for a walk and was having doubts about studying painting. It occurred to me that I was holding a camera and that I'd always had one on me. I grew up looking at photojournalism via Life and Time books my dad kept on our coffee table, and shooting was always something that brought me into myself. I never looked at it as a career, just as something I loved, but then when I returned to school I decided to go for it. 

Who do you enjoy shooting?

I love shooting active subjects, moments of chaos. I want a buffet of imagery - so much that I can't even get to all of it no matter how many times I go back for more. As an observer, I like picking apart the little nuances that tell a larger story.

Does where I print really make a difference?

Do you travel?

Yes. 100%. Professional print labs pay big bucks to host an in-home color specialist. This person has a trained eye for color and regularly checks the printers, paper, inks, monitors, etc. for quality. She or he has to calibrate computers and printers for color accuracy, and perform routine tests on equipment. Additionally, print labs take pride in the quality of paper they use. Different papers have different densities. It's similar to the difference in concentration between a parfum and an eau de toilette. A parfum has a rich, concentrated and deep scent that lasts all day whereas a toilette is meant for a couple of hours & then needs to be reapplied. My feeling is that with photographs, you print them once. I have prints from the early 1900's that have held up to this day, because of quality (and care). 

Do you have kids of your own?

I get asked this question a lot and it's usually preceded by, "You're so good with my kids - you must have kids of your own." First of all, that's really sweet to say & thank you for trusting me to work with your kids! To answer the question, I do not have kids of my own. I did, however, grow up with over 200 siblings. My parents fostered children ever since I was about three years old. We always had at least four kids at a time, and they were kids whose lives had been so disrupted by adults that nobody else could, or would, take them into their home. It was usually a juvenile detention center, residential home, or us. So, I grew up in a very diverse household, usually sharing my bedroom with a couple other girls who taught me invaluable things about life. 

Absolutely. After graduating, I moved overseas and lived in Albania for awhile. I traveled all over Europe and Eastern Europe doing street photography. It wasn't until a couple of years ago that I actually saw photography as a profession I wanted to do - so yes, if you'd like to pack up and go somewhere I'd be down. I have been shooting some family reunions lately, from sunrise to bedtime for weekends at a time.

What do we do with our hands?

I'm asked this question a lot, and I think it comes from all of us being so trained for portraiture that we pose our bodies just so. I have a feeling it stemmed from the photographic processes from the 1800s that took a few seconds or longer to expose the image. The issue brings up a similar discussion regarding those who still double space after a period. When writing was done by typewriter, a double space was needed because the letters were monospaced - meaning they each were given the same amount of space. Now that our fonts on the computer are proportional and account for the kerning of each font, we no longer have a hard time understanding where a period is and a new sentence begins. I'm completely for keeping the tradition alive - and I would definitely use a typewriter for effect, just like I would use silver-plated images for effect. I guess I'm just a believer in making the equipment match the mood. The equipment I'm probably using for our shoot is fast and intuitive, so I feel best when I'm using it intuitively.